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Collaborating with Books Build Bridges to promote reading in Playa Samara

An unexpected blessing came our way during this past community volunteer season. One of the volunteers who came to work with us here at CREAR, Chris Sweeney, had recently founded a non profit called Books Build Bridges alongside his brother, Benjamin and other friends and family, and was looking for ways to expand the reach of his organization outside of his hometown. Luckily for CREAR and the Samara community, Chris was set to travel to Costa Rica with a Travel for Teens group and we were able to collaborate together on a project to benefit our community. We are always thrilled for the opportunity to reach our community in new ways.

Books Build Bridges hopes to encourage youth literacy by providing books for underprivileged youth around the world, and, fortunately for CREAR, they had oodles of books and other resources that they were hoping to donate to the Playa Samara community. We chatted with the Books Build Bridges team and decided that a great way to channel their resources was by constructing some free community libraries. The “Give a book, take a book” model which has gained popularity in the United States would be a great way to get more literature into the homes of our Samara families. . Thanks to a very generous donation from Books Build Bridges we were able to purchase plywood and the other materials necessary to construct these mini libraries.

Our community projects foreman, Jose, came to CREAR on a Saturday to begin making the cuts to assemble the mini-libraries. With great speed and precision Jose was able to build small wooden houses in just a day and a half. We were still waiting for our final group of volunteers to arrive in August to paint the boxes and make them pretty.

The final group of volunteers arrived and did a beautiful job adding colors to our work. They painted a base coat and added finishing touches. After the volunteers finished, Rekha, our art teacher, went in with a fine paint brush and added the websites for CREAR and for Books Build Bridges to the design.

The mini libraries were looking great and were ready to be installed. With the help of a different Jose we scouted out different spots around town where the boxes would get used by the community but would also be protected from the elements of the rainy season. We decided to install one mini library here at CREAR where the families of our students will be able to browse the book selection. The other library was installed at Samara Pacific School. This bilingual school has a strong community which values reading and they will certainly appreciate an influx of books where their children are learning.

All of us at CREAR are so thankful for Books Build Bridges’s support of our mission. Their generosity has already started to benefit CREAR and the Samara community as a whole. Our English teacher, Lucas, is especially thankful for the donations of lots of new reading materials as he is in the process of starting a reading club where students can receive prizes for every book they read in English. While the Books Build Bridges collaboration with CREAR is still just beginning, we are super excited to continue working alongside this wonderful organization.

Thank you so much as well to all of the support from our larger CREAR family, you are truly what makes collaborations like these possible. We are currently raising funds to continue with our great community work, please consider sending a gift today!

By Lucas C. Mozingo


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